National Children’s Dental Health Month-Tips for Parents
Parents, it is up to you to protect those precious smiles that bring you such joy. Tooth decay affects more children in the United States than any other chronic infectious disease. Untreated tooth decay can cause pain, infections and can lead to problems such as eating, speaking, playing, and learning. One of the best things you can do for your children is lead by example when it comes to dental health. It is our belief that establishing a solid foundation of oral hygiene in early childhood promotes life-long healthy habits. We want to provide helpful tips to our parents, so we can reduce tooth decay and cavities among children.
- Expectant mothers should strive to eat a healthy diet, before their baby is born, for their baby’s oral development.
- Parents should clean the gums and oral tissues of their infants with a clean, damp cloth to prevent bacteria growth.
- As soon as your child’s first teeth appear, brush teeth with a little bit of water.
- Take your child to a dentist by the child’s first birthday or when the first teeth arrive, whichever comes first.
- A toddler should never be left in the crib or for an extended period of time with any liquid other than water. Milk or juice can cause bacteria and decay.
- By the age of two, parents should begin brushing their children’s’ teeth with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush..
- When your child is ready to brush his or her own teeth, use only a pea-size amount of toothpaste. Be sure he or she does not swallow the paste.
- The American Dental Association recommends that the first dental checkup occurs before your child’s first birthday.
- Talk to your child’s dentist about dental sealants. They protect teeth from decay.
- Fluoride can be applied by our team to strengthen your child’s tooth enamel.
- By the age of five, you should schedule your child’s first dental cleaning.
- It is good to have children practice the act of brushing on their own, but it is also highly recommended that a parent help with the brushing at least once per day until the age of eight.
- Encourage your children to eat regular nutritious meals and avoid frequent between-meal snacking.
- If your drinking water is not fluoridated, talk to a dentist or physician about the best way to protect your child’s teeth.
- Try to make oral hygiene fun with positive encouragement and fun activities.
Prevention is key for childhood dental care. Preventative treatment is not only less costly, but is also less painful and less traumatizing than restoration and repair work. Establish a relationship between your child and our team, and we can familiarize him or her with the dentist office. This helps reduce the risk of developing dental phobias, which often keep people from the dental care they need. If it’s time for your little one’s first dentist appointment or it’s been some time since a cleaning, give us a call at (417) 777-8654 to schedule an appointment. We happily serve patients of all ages.
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